Chimpanzee intelligence found to be highly heritable: A new study in Current Biology reports that chimp brain power runs in the family. “The historical view is that non-genetic factors dominate animal intelligence, and our findings challenge that view,” says study leader William Hopkins. The researchers also suggest that these findings could help identify the genes that influence intelligence, a discovery that could lead to similar research in humans. To see some of these smart animals in action, watch this video of chimps using nearby objects to try to retrieve out-of-reach bananas. Spoiler alert: The fruit didn’t stand a chance.
American Gut Project shares latest results and processing pipeline: The American Gut Project, a microbiome-studying research project that our editor-in-chief, Jeanette McCarthy, detailed here, has released its latest results, and the findings revealed some noteworthy patterns. For one, alcohol drinkers tend to have greater microbial diversity than those who abstain. Those who sleep more and exercise outdoors also have greater diversity. In addition to the results, which you can read more about here, American Gut is also sharing its processing pipeline. This is exciting news for researchers, who will now be able to “frame their own data against the American Gut data for context or additional insight.”
National Institutes of Health funds new research into Alzheimer’s disease genome: With support from the NIH, teams of scientists will analyze genome sequence data to identify genetic risk of Alzheimer’s disease. Researchers also hope to find out why some people known to be at risk for the disease never develop it. For a more in-depth look at Alzheimer’s disease and genomics, don’t miss the next issue of Genome, in which writer Charlotte Huff explores how personalized medicine is changing this frightening disease.